By: Teri A. Coutu, Board President
I know I’m not saying anything new, but I think it’s worth repeating – the Hickory Nut Gorge has GREAT volunteers! When you make a list of all the wonderful events and activities in our area, few would exist if it wasn’t for the dedicated volunteers who make it all happen.
Our Chamber is volunteer-driven and has been from it’s inception. For almost four decades there have been community leaders, business owners, and engaged citizens serving on the Board of Directors and guiding the development of the Chamber to best serve our members.
Part of that service includes developing, implementing, and managing events that not only provide a boost to the local economy, but also offer something fun for residents.
- In August, more than 100 volunteers welcomed runners, cyclists, and swimmers for the Lake Lure Olympiad, an event that celebrated its 18th birthday this year.
- September brings the 13th Annual Dirty Dancing Festival in Lake Lure, another volunteer-run event that each year hosts 2,500 – 5,000 people.
- The Gala Committee has started putting together this December’s event, “The Great Gatsby Holiday Gala – Roaring into the 20’s!” So, get your flapper dress or homburg hat and block off your calendar for December 1st and applaud them for bringing warm fun when the weather gets cool.
- Chamber volunteers also help with Light Up the Gorge, local fireworks celebrations, the Souper Supper, and every Chamber activity you can think of that has taken place in the Gorge.
However, it’s not just the Chamber that benefits from active volunteers, there are warmhearted people involved in every area of our community. For instance, one of the most popular attractions in Lake Lure, the Flowering Bridge has blossomed since opening in 2013 thanks to the beautiful work of numerous volunteers dedicated to bridging beauty and nature. Additionally, the Hickory Nut Outreach directly improves the lives of our friends and neighbors through their generous services and goods.
I think everyone would agree that we can’t give a big enough thanks to our volunteer firefighters for all they do to keep us safe and protect our homes and land. And there’s not enough print space to list the numerous volunteer groups and individuals who pick up trash, help their neighbors, and/or serve on any of the church or community organizations supporting the Gorge. It’s truly overwhelming – in a great way!
We are so fortunate to live in a beautiful location, surrounded by friendly mountains, and supported by friendly people. During my time on the Chamber Board, I have repeatedly been amazed and humbled by the outpouring of time, talent, toil and treasure this community willingly gives every single day. I have to agree with Canadian curler, Sherry Anderson, who said “Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.”
We, the Chamber, just want to say THANK YOU to ALL the volunteers who make this area special. You are our greatest resource!